AC Energy-Saving Tips for Hawaii Residents

June 8th, 2021

As summer approaches and temperatures begin to rise, more and more Hawaiian residents will be running their air conditioners to escape the heat. The problem is this comfort comes at a price. The more you run your AC, the more energy you use, which means higher electric bills. According to Hawaii Energy, as much as half of the energy your home uses goes to keeping it cool.

Fortunately, you can do a lot of things to save energy and reduce the cost of running the AC. 

energy saving concept image of light bulb and jar full of pennies

Regular AC maintenance keeps your AC unit and ducts running at peak efficiency; this can cut your energy costs by as much as 30%. Keeping your air conditioners adequately maintained helps extend the life of your HVAC system. It runs smoother, experiences fewer breakdowns, and is better for the environment.

AC Energy Saving Tips

In addition to routine air conditioner maintenance and repair, here are a few more tips to help save energy and money while staying cool and comfortable during the long Hawaiian summer:

  • Set your air conditioner’s thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Raise it if you aren’t going to be home during the day. The lower the air conditioning temperature, the higher the energy costs.
  • Use ceiling fans as an alternative to AC when possible. Ceiling fans consume much less energy than an AC unit. Keep the ceiling fans running while the AC is on; they help circulate cool air throughout the house.
  • Choose an AC unit that is just the right size for your home. Smaller air conditioners can run more efficiently while providing better comfort and air quality.  
  • Reduce the heat in your kitchen by cooking outside or using a microwave instead of the stove or oven.
  • Keep your windows and doors closed during the heat of the day. Keep the shades, drapes, or blinds closed. Install insulated windows to help keep the inside of your house cool. 
  • Landscape your yard to provide more shade, keeping your house cooler.
  • Replace your old thermostat with a new Energy Star certified smart thermostat.
  • Seal any air leaks around doors and windows using caulk or weatherstripping.
  • Get your AC ducts checked for leaks. AC duct leaks can decrease the efficiency of your air conditioner unit and reduce your energy savings.
  • Change your AC filters regularly. This not only helps save energy but also maintains a healthy air quality within your home.
  • Keep your air conditioner’s thermostat set on to auto, never on fan.
  • Install a radiant barrier or insulation under the roof to help keep the AC ducts cool.
  • Get in the habit of turning off the lights when you aren’t in a room. Lights can add a lot of heat to a room, as 99% of a light’s energy use is converted to heat and only one percent to light.

Save Energy and Money with Hawaii HVAC Experts Island Comfort

Looking for more ways to save money on energy costs? Well-maintained air conditioners run more efficiently. Contact Island Comfort Air Conditioning at (888) 781-0364 to schedule an appointment. We’ll send out one of our licensed and certified Hawaii HVAC technicians to inspect your AC unit and ducts and suggest ways to help you save energy on your AC bills.

Island Comfort offers top-rated products and services at a price that fits your budget. We provide a full range of HVAC services, including installation, maintenance, and repair, to homeowners on the islands of Oahu and Kauai. Don’t pay more than you have to when it comes to keeping your home cool. Call Island Comfort today.

Top Causes Behind Bad Air Conditioner Smells in Hawaii

June 1st, 2021

As a Hawaiian homeowner, it’s understandable to feel concerned when noticing strange odors coming from your air conditioning system. Depending on the source, these odors could have a serious effect on the health of the people living inside the home. Bad smells can also be a result of mechanical problems with your AC unit.

At Island Comfort, we receive calls all the time from people complaining about unpleasant air conditioner smells. Foul air conditioner odors can have many causes. Therefore, here are some of the most common smells that emerge from an AC duct and why they happen.

woman cleaning unit to get rid of air conditioner smells

It’s Like Living in a Nail Salon

If the unpleasant smell is a chemical odor similar to acetone or nail polish remover, your AC unit may be experiencing a coolant leak. An AC refrigerant leak can be a serious problem. Not only can it affect the efficiency of your air conditioner unit, but it can also be hazardous to your health. Fortunately, it’s a problem that an experienced HVAC technician can easily fix.

Every Room’s a Locker Room

Is your air conditioner starting to make your house smell like dirty socks or a gym locker room? Moldy or mildewy smells are one of the most common bad air conditioner smells. This unpleasant odor is the result of bacteria growing in the stagnant water that often collects within an AC unit.

The Second-Hand Stink of Stale Cigarettes

If someone in your household smokes indoors, or the house’s previous occupants were smokers, the fumes from the smoke are pulled into your AC’s evaporator coil. Furthermore, these smells permeate the coil, causing the smell of stale cigarettes to fill the house. If the smell is really bad, you may need to install a new evaporator.

Dirty Air Filters and Ducts

One common source of foul AC odors is dirty air filters and AC ducts. A foul-smelling AC filter or AC duct could be spreading a lot more than bad smells throughout your house, including dust, mold, pet dander, and other allergens.

Simple maintenance and cleaning, such as changing the air filter along with cleaning and sanitizing the AC ducts, usually eliminate these types of odors. A new filter and clean AC duct can work wonders to improve the air quality within your home.

Unwelcome Guests

Rats, mice, and other pests can cause unpleasant air conditioner smells. If you’ve been experiencing the smell of urine and feces coming from your AC ducts, it could be because you have some uninvited guests using your air ducts as a restroom.  If the cause of your problem is rodents living in your HVAC system, call a pest removal service immediately before having the air ducts cleaned.

Keep the Air Inside Your Home Cool, Fresh, and Clean with Island Comfort

Those awful smells coming from your AC unit could be a bigger problem than you think. If your air conditioner is stinking up the place, give Island Comfort a call. In addition to having a big impact on the air quality inside your home, bad air conditioner smells may indicate more serious issues, such as electrical problems or rodent infestation. 

Contact Hawaii HVAC company Island Comfort for complete air conditioner installation, maintenance, and heating services as well as attic insulation. We have locations on the islands of Oahu and Kauai. You can reach our Oahu location (in Waipahu) at (808) 215-9091 and our Kauai (in Lihue) at (808) 215-9087.

Island Comfort’s team of highly experienced, licensed, and certified HVAC technicians provide reliable, affordable air conditioner service to homes and businesses. You can depend on Island Comfort to pinpoint the source of the unpleasant odor and take the necessary steps to eliminate the problem.

5 Tips to Find an Ethical HVAC Tech

May 25th, 2021

Are you looking to have your HVAC unit serviced or repaired, but aren’t sure where to find a good technician? You’re not alone, as many people have difficulties finding an ethical tech to do HVAC installation or repair. Unfortunately, some technicians are looking to rip people off or trying to do jobs that they’re not qualified for. We have put together a series of tips that can help you find an ethical HVAC tech to handle all of your HVAC needs. 

HVAC tech on roof giving thumbs up

1. HVAC Tech Credentials and Training

One of the most important qualifications for HVAC techs is that they are properly certified and trained in their profession. There are far too many handyman types out there offering HVAC maintenance or repair services who aren’t properly trained. These individuals often boast that they can fix the problem, but they may only have a little experience. You should check out the company’s or technician’s website to see what they have to offer. Ethical HVAC techs will list their qualifications.

2. People Over Profit

There are questionable technicians out there who may try to upsell equipment or services to make a better profit. An ethical technician recommends and delivers the best value services for you. If someone tries to convince you to buy a new unit when the old one is working as intended, then they might be a scammer. A good HVAC tech explains why replacement or providing a certain repair is important.

3. Cost Is Not Always the Determination

When it comes to HVAC services, you really do get what you pay for. It’s true that HVAC work can come with a sticker shock at times, but you should not be getting crazy expensive equipment that you do not need. Conversely, trying to find the cheapest possible service or repair can land you with an incomplete or poorly done job. Instead, you should focus on the reputation and training of the company or technician. Finding a good HVAC tech that charges a bit more is worth it and will help you avoid being sold unnecessary equipment or repairs.

4. Check Reviews

Reviews are one of the best ways to see what kind of service a company or technician offers. Hearing other people’s points of view can tell you whether the job was done right and if the customer was satisfied. Check HVAC techs’ websites as they will likely have reviews listed there, especially if they’re positive.

5. Customer Service

When contacting potential HVAC techs, pay attention to their customer service. Are they ready and willing to help explain things to you, or are they more focused on trying to get you to sign the contract as fast as possible? A good technician will work with you to find an optimal solution and treat you respectfully. The HVAC tech should also be able to deliver their services promptly.

Looking for HVAC Repair in Hawaii?

If you need HVAC service or repairs, Island Comfort is here to help. Our company is family-owned and operated, and our primary goal is to ensure the comfort of you and your family, no matter the season. We offer heating and air conditioning services in Kauai, Oahu, and Kona. Our services include installation, repair, and tune-ups. Let us help you with HVAC installation and repair so that your AC is ready to keep you cool this summer.

Summer Prep: Why You Should Protect Your Outdoor AC Unit

May 18th, 2021

As we finally see the end of winter, warmer temperatures have started to creep in. While the warmth is great in Hawaii, it also means lots of humidity. Before you know it, you will be reaching to turn on the AC. One of the worst scenarios during this time is that you try to turn on your AC and find that it doesn’t work, which is why maintenance and summer preparation are important. Summer may not be here yet, but there are several things you should do to prepare your AC unit to handle the increased use. 

AC unit outdoors near flowers

Cleanup and Cover for Air Conditioner

If you didn’t put an AC cover on your unit during the off-season, then there may be some cleanup to do. Make sure that there are no leaves or dirt are bunking up around the unit, since that may interfere with ventilation. When leaves or other debris get into the unit, it can potentially lead to moisture collecting inside, which causes corrosion. This leads to further problems with your unit. 

When fall hits, there are covers for air conditioners that can help to keep leaves and debris out. Instead of a full AC cover, some will place a sheet of plywood or other material over the top of the unit. This can work as long as the material spans at least six inches around the unit to help keep debris away. 

Change the Filter on Your AC Unit

Another important step to preparing your HVAC unit is to replace the filter. The filter catches particles before the air flows into your home, so it has likely built up plenty of dust, dander, and allergens. Ideally, you should replace this filter every month. If you have not replaced it through the cooler months, now is the time. This way, your unit will have a nice, new filter before it begins working hard all summer long. 

If you have difficulties with allergies or asthma, then it may be a good idea to install a HEPA filter. HEPA filters are designed to catch very small particles, which can improve indoor air quality.

Regular Service Is Important

Another important part of preparing your outdoor AC unit for summer is to have it regularly serviced by an HVAC technician. You should be having your unit tuned up every spring and fall, as it will help ensure that everything is working properly. Regular maintenance can also catch potential issues before they turn into huge repair bills. 

An HVAC tech is going to check and service various parts of the unit, including cleaning the coils, checking the refrigerant level, checking the drain lines, and more. After a good tune-up, your unit will be ready to pump out the AC during those hot summer months. 

Let Island Comfort Prepare Your AC for the Summer Months

If you’re looking to have your HVAC unit tuned up or need repairs, give us a call here at Island Comfort. We are a family-owned and operated company, and we are experts when it comes to heating and air conditioning. Island Comfort services and repairs units all across Oahu and Kauai. Your family’s comfort no matter the season is our priority. Our services include installation, repair, and tune-ups. Let us help make sure that your HVAC unit is ready to keep you cool this summer. 

Costly Mistakes You Can Prevent with HVAC Maintenance

May 11th, 2021

Your HVAC system is a crucial part of your home. It ensures that the temperature is comfortable no matter the season. It also helps filter the air in your house so that allergens and dander aren’t aggravating your sinuses. If you don’t properly take care of your HVAC system, it can end up costing you greatly. Check out some of the most expensive mistakes that can be prevented with regular HVAC maintenance below. 

man changing filter to provide HVAC maintenance

Air Contamination and Clogs

If you don’t regularly change the air filter on your HVAC unit, it can cause several problems. It can lead to indoor air pollution that could aggravate allergies or asthma. Furthermore, if your filter becomes very clogged, it could lead to damage within your HVAC unit. 

Ideally, you should be changing your HVAC filter every month for the best results. If you have difficulties with indoor air quality, then it may be a good idea to get a HEPA filter. These are designed to filter much smaller particles, which can help improve the air quality of your home. 

Drain Line Clogs

If you don’t get your HVAC unit regularly serviced, there is a potential for drain line clogs. Not only can these damage the unit itself, but they can also cause puddles around the unit, leading to water damage in other parts of your home. 

Moisture should be following the lines and draining outside. If they become clogged, you may begin to notice puddles around your unit. This should be immediately checked by an HVAC professional. Clogs can also occur on the outdoor portion of the unit, so make sure to keep it clean and free of leaves or debris. 

Energy Costs

An improperly functioning unit will require more energy to operate, which you may begin to notice in your energy bill. If your unit is dirty or not functioning properly, it will struggle to heat or cool. This makes it consume more energy. To prevent this, you should have your unit serviced regularly.

Regular Maintenance of HVAC Systems

The bottom line is that you should have your HVAC unit regularly tuned up. Every spring and fall should do. Not only will this help it operate efficiently, but it also means potential issues will be detected early on. This way, you are not paying for emergency repair services. 

When a technician comes to service your unit, they upkeep many parts of the HVAC. This includes cleaning coils, cleaning the drain lines, checking for any leaks, ensuring various parts are functioning correctly, changing the filter, and checking the refrigerant. These are all critical components that can fail if they are not properly cleaned or serviced. 

There will be costs associated with having your unit regularly serviced, but it will save you money in the long run. It’s cheaper to pay for regular maintenance than massive repair bills. Regular HVAC maintenance will also extend the life of your unit, so you won’t spend a large sum on a new system as soon. 

Need HVAC Maintenance Near Me?

If you are looking to schedule regular maintenance for your HVAC system or are having issues, contact us here at Island Comfort. We offer professional air conditioning and heating services in Kauai and Oahu. As a family-owned and operated company, our goal is to ensure that you and your family are comfortable no matter the season. Our services include installation, repair, and tune-up services. 

Is the Filter of Your AC Making You Sick?

May 4th, 2021

The warmer months aren’t far away, which means you’ll be using your air conditioning soon (if you aren’t already). It’s important to make sure that your AC unit is in good working order before you start using it over the summer. One thing that many people neglect when it comes to their AC units is the filter. In fact, if you’re often sick in the summer months, it may be related to your AC filter. 

man changing AC filter

How Dirty AC Filters Lead to Problems

If not properly managed, the air inside of your home becomes polluted with many of the same contaminants as outside. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, dirty AC filters may contribute to increased difficulty with allergies or asthma while inside. 

Your air conditioning filter is designed to catch particles such as allergens, dust, and dander. If you don’t regularly change your filter, it will no longer be catching these particles anymore and they will begin to build up. You’ll then be inhaling all of these particles, which can potentially aggravate allergies or asthma.

Changing the filter on your AC unit is simple. Some filters are housed behind the primary register, while others are within the unit. Once you have located the filter, look at the sides of it. The size of the filter will be listed so you can buy a replacement. You could also bring the old filter to the store. An employee should be able to help find the right replacement.  

When to Change Your Air Conditioning Filter

Ideally, you should change your  once a month. This can be extended under some circumstances. For instance, less air will pass through the filter in smaller homes, so you could go a bit longer. However, the longer you wait, the more of an issue it may become for allergies or asthma. If you begin to notice your allergies flaring up inside your house or are having difficulties with congestion, you should change your AC filter to see if it helps. 

Some filters boast that they last for up to three months. This may be true in some circumstances, but you should still check the filter once a month for heavy buildup. 

Further Reducing Indoor Air Pollution

If you have severe asthma or allergies, it may be a good idea to go with a HEPA filter, as they are designed to catch very small particles. These filters can help to reduce pet dander, allergens, and dust. Vacuuming regularly and grooming your pet outdoors can also help keep these types of particles out of the air in your home. 

Island Comfort Is Here for All of Your HVAC Needs

If you are looking for HVAC services in Hawaii, contact Island Comfort Air Conditioning. We are a family-owned air conditioning and heating company that operates on Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island. We want to ensure that you and your family are comfortable no matter what the season may be. Give us a call today so we can help fulfill your heating or cooling needs. 

Here’s What to Expect During Your New Ductless Mini-Split Installation

February 25th, 2021

Installing a ductless mini-split does not require any ductwork at all. The process is fairly straightforward, and it’s relatively easy to set up compared to other types of HVAC systems. Unless you’re a pro, mini-split installation still requires an experienced technician to perform.

When you familiarize yourself with the steps involved in a ductless mini-split installation, it offers several benefits, such as:

  • Helps you ask your HVAC technician the right questions
  • Gives you an idea of how to prepare your house beforehand
  • Shows you an overview of the inner workings of this type of AC

If you haven’t bought a mini-split HVAC unit yet, your knowledge of its installation can help you decide if this type of system is what you want for your home.

Things to Consider Before a Ductless Mini-Split Installation

Before requesting ductless mini-split installation, you need to decide on a few things to make the installation smooth and precisely the way you want.

Type of Ductless AC Units

All ductless mini-splits have an outdoor unit. Thus, the indoor unit or “head” is what distinguishes one from the other. The three types of ductless air conditioners are:

  • Wall units: Usually installed on the top part of a wall, these are the most common units you’d find in most homes because it’s the most inexpensive. 
  • Floor units: Installation is very similar to wall units except that the head’s location is near the lower portion of the wall. Homeowners choose this type of ductless unit if they have low ceilings or high windows.
  • Ceiling cassettes: These units cover more area because of wider airflow but are less intrusive. This unit is the most expensive of the three due to its superior features and added labor for installation.

Electrical and Drainage

After picking the type of AC mini-split you want, it’s time to identify specific installation criteria. These will affect the laying down of the electrical circuit and drainage line.

The three most essential items you need to consider are:

  • Where to install the indoor head
  • Where to place the outdoor unit
  • Relationship of both locations to your home’s electrical infrastructure

For the third item, you can have a licensed electrician inspect your home infrastructure to ensure that the installation follows the state’s building code.

During an expert technician’s assessment, he will:

  • Inspect your home for possible optimal unit placements.
  • Ask for your preferences on where to place the indoor and outdoor units.
  • If he’s with a licensed electrician, he’ll coordinate with the electrician about optimal wiring installations.
  • The technician will give you several options and the associated costs to implement them.

Ductless air conditioners create condensation as they convert vapor into liquid. Condensate drainage is vital to prevent water droplets that can harm your ceiling, wall, and floor from forming in the head unit.

For ceiling cassettes and wall units, the condensate drainage can use gravity to lead the liquid outside. However, floor units almost always require a condensate pump to flush the water out.

Ductless Mini-Split Installation Process

While these steps are for a wall unit, they also apply to other AC types except for the specific head installation.

Pre-Installation

On the day before installation, your HVAC contractor will call you for confirmation. During the actual installation, their team of technicians will perform the following tasks as soon as they arrive:

  • The lead HVAC technician will confirm your job order and ensure that it’s exactly what you want.
  • They’ll lay drop cloths on every area affected by the installation process. It will help ensure that your home remains clean during the installation.
  • Unless a licensed electrician already set up the electrical circuit, they’ll have him lay down the wiring needed for your ductless mini at this point.

Depending on the number of units they need to install in your home, the process can take four to eight hours per air conditioner.

During Installation

Your AC head and the outdoor unit need to be in place before being hooked up together. Here are the steps your technicians will take:

  • They’ll drill a two-and-a-half-inch hole on the wall where you want your indoor unit installed. This hole is where the line set will go through to connect to your outdoor unit.
  • Outside the same wall, they’ll install a bracket to keep the line set in place so that it doesn’t dangle.
  • The technicians will position the outdoor unit on a plastic pad beneath the hole where the line set will travel down.
  • They’ll make sure that the line set can connect from the indoor unit to the outdoor unit.
  • The electrician will prepare the wiring that connects to the outdoor unit.

The plastic pad that secures the outdoor unit is crucial because of the following reasons:

  1. It protects the outdoor unit from vibration and reduces noise.
  2. It prevents rain runoff and snow buildups.

If you find the line set an eyesore for your walls, you can always request line set protection. However, not all HVAC companies do this by default. Make sure to ask for line set protection if you find that it’s not included in your package. It will give you the following benefits:

  • Protects and hides the line set
  • Allows painting over to match your home’s color
  • Increases the AC’s life span
  • Avoids unnecessary repairs

After performing all the preparatory tasks, they’ll start connecting the two units and the electrical wiring. Here are the steps your technicians will perform:

  • Flare the connections using special flaring tools.
  • Connect the lines to the outdoor unit using torque wrenches.
  • Flush the refrigerant line three times to remove imperfections.
  • Connect the refrigerant line.

Post-Installation Tasks

After the installation, the lead technician will walk you through the proper way of operating your newly installed ductless mini-split. Some of the things you’ll learn are:

  • Remote control operation
  • App functionality for specific AC models
  • Thermostat setting

Take this opportunity to ask your technician for other tips on how to keep your AC running smoothly.

Trust the Professionals for Your Ductless Mini-Split Installation

You’re less likely to encounter any issues using your new ductless air conditioner if your HVAC contractor followed these installation steps.

Contact us if you want to ensure the proper installation of your ductless mini-split air conditioner.